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forwarded by the same conveyance. Retaining all the earnestness I ever expressed, to see our differences accommodated; I shall conceive, if I meet with the dis. position in the colonies which I was once taught to expect, the most flattering hopes of proving serviceable in the objects of the king's paternal solicitude, by promoting the establishment of lasting peace and 'union with the colonies. But if the deep-rooted prejudices of America, and the necessity of preventing her trade from passiog into foreign channels, must keep us still a divided people; I shall, from every private as well as public motive, most heartily lament, that this is not the moment wherein those great objects of my ambition are
which seemed the ultimatum of the commission.—Parliament however, by a subsequent act (which among other things, formally renounced taxation in North America and the West Indies) authorized five commissioners to treat, settle, and agree, even with congress; but subject to the farther confirmation of parliament. Lord Carlisle, and Messieurs Johnson and Eden, with the commanders in chief of the land and sea forces, were the commissioners appointed by the crown under this act; and Dr. Adam Ferguson was made secretary to the commission.
Mr. Henry Strachey had been secretary to the first commissiou, attended with the following singular circumstance, as stated in the house of lords. In this commission for rescoring peace to America, " or in other words to induce America at once to put a confidence in the crown, and to believe that the parliament of England is a sufficiently powerful and honest barrier for them to trust to) the secretary (Mr. Strachey) had 5001. granted for life out of the four and a half per cent. duty, filched by the crown from the West-India Islands, and in opposition to a solenn address of par. liament desiring that it might be applied to the original purposes for which it was granted by the respective assemblies of the islands."-What these original purposcs of the grants were, I meant very briefly to have stated: but have not been able to procure the proper documents in time. B.V.
to be attained ; and that I am to be longer deprived of an opportunity, to assure you personally of the regard with which I am Your sincére and faithful humble servant,
P. S. I was disappointed of the opportunity I expected for sending this letter, at the time it was dated; and have ever since been prevented by calms and contrary winds from getting here, to inform general Howe of the commission with which I have the satisfaction to be charged, and of his being joined in it. Off of Sandy Hook, 12th of July,
To Benjamin Franklin Esq.
Dr. Franklin's Answer to Lord Howe.
Philadelphia, July 30, 1776. MY LORD, I RECEIVED safe the letters your lordship so kindly forwarded to me, and beg you to accept my thanks.
The official dispatches to which you refer me, contain nothing more than what we had seen in the act of parliament, viz. “Offers of pardon upon submission;" which I was sorry to find; as it must give your lordship pain to be sent so far on so hopeless a business.
Directing pardons to be offered to the colonies, who are the very parties injured, expresses indeed that opinion of our ignorance, baseness, and insensibility, which your uninformed and proud nation has long been pleased to entertain of us; but it can have no other effect than that of encreasing our resentments. It is impossible we should think of submission to a government, that bas, with the most wanton barbarity and cru. elty, burned our defenceless towns in the midst of winter; excited the savages to massacre our (peaceful) farmers; and our slaves to murder their masters; and is even now* bringing foreign mercenaries to deluge our settlements with blood. These atrocious injuries have extinguished every spark of affection for that parent country we once held so dear: but were it possible for us to forget and forgive them, it is not possible for you (I mean the British nation) to forgive the people you have so heavily injured; you can never confide again in those as fellow-subjects, and permit them to enjoy equal freedom, to whom you know you have given such just causes of lasting enmity; and this must impel you, were we again under your government, to endeavour the breaking our spirit by the severest tyranny, and obstructing by every means in your power our growing strength and prosperity.
But your lordship mentions" the king's paternal so. licitude for promoting the establishments of lasting peace and union with the colonies.” If by peace is here meant, a peace to be entered into by distinct states, now at war; and his majesty has given your lordship
* About this time the Hessians, &c. had just arrived from Europe, at Siaten Island and New York. B. V.
powers to treat with us of such
venture to say, though without authority, that I think a treaty for that purpose not quite impracticable, before we enter into foreign alliances. But I am persuaded you have no such powers. Your nation, though, by punishing those American governors who have fomenied ihe discord, rebuilding our burnt towns, and repairing as far as possible the mischiefs done us, she might recover a great share of our regard; and the greatest share of our growing commerce, with all the advantages of that additional strength, to be derived from a friendship with us; yet I know too well her abounding pride and deficient wisdom, to believe she will ever take such salutary measures. Her fondness for conquest as a warlike nation; her lust of dominion as an ambitious one, and her thirst for a gainful monopoly as a commercial one (none of them legitimate causes of war) will join to hide from her eyes every view of her true interest, and continually goad her on in these ruinous distant expeditions, so destructive both of lives and of treasure, that they must prove as pernicious to her in the end, as the Croisades formerly were to most of the nations of Europe.
I have not the vanity, my lord, to think of intimidating, by thus predicting the effects of this war; for I know it will in England have the fate of all my former predictions; not to be believed till the event shall verify it.
Long did I endeavour, with unfeigned and unwearied zeal, to preserve from breaking that fine and noble porcelaine vase.--the British empire; for I knew that being once broken, the separate parts could not retain even their share of the strength and value that existed
in the whole; and that a prefect re-union of those parts could scarce ever be hoped for. Your lordship may possibly remember the tears of joy that wetted my cheek, when, at your good sister's in London, you once gave me expectations, that a reconciliation might soon take place. I had the misfortune to find these expectations disappointed, and to be treated as the cause of the mischief I was labouring to prevent. My consolation under that groundless and malevolent treatment was, that I retained the friendship of many wise and good men in that country; and among the rest, some share in the regard of lord Howe.
The well-founded esteem, and permit me to say affection, which I shall always have for your lordship, make. it painful to me to see you engaged in conducting a war, the great ground of which (as described in your letter) is “the necessity of preventing the American trade from passing into foreign channels." To me it seems, that neither the obtaining or retaining any trade, how valuable soever, is an object for which men may justly spill each other's blood; that the true and sure means of extending and securing commerce are the goodness and cheapness of commodities; and that the profits of no trade can ever be equal to the expence of compelling it, and holding it by fleets and armies. I consider this war against us, therefore, as both unjust and unwise; and I am persuaded, that cool and dispassionate posterity will condemn to infamy those who advised it; and that even success will not save from some degree of dishonour, those who have voluntarily engaged to conduct it.
I know your great motive in coming hither, was the hope of being instrumental in a reconciliation ; and I